Turkish police raided a Bible study group meeting in a registered place of Christian worship in Istanbul's Avcilar district Wednesday night, May 24, arresting six Turks and roughing up one of two foreign citizens pulled in for investigation.
The eight men, including Australian Ian McLure and an American colleague, were kept overnight at the Firuzkoy police station, locked into a bare room where they slept on the floor after initial questioning.
None of the arrested Christians were allowed to contact their families or embassy representatives until 4:30 the next morning, when McLure was permitted to call his wife. She and the American worker's wife informed their respective consulates of the arrests later that morning.
After being interrogated by the police station's Terrorism Activities Division to record their official statements, the eight were brought before the Kucukcekmece Prosecutor's Office late Thursday afternoon, accused of violating Article 2911 of the Turkish penal code on public meetings and demonstrations.
Lawyer Atilla Tanman was refused access to the eight detainees until moments before they appeared before the prosecutor, a standard practice for detainees accused of terrorist activities. "The police kept us inside the paddy wagon," the American said. "The lawyer was standing just outside, but they wouldn't allow him to talk to us through the window. They just closed the window."
State Prosecutor Hamit Atansay threw out the complaint "within less than five minutes," the arrested Christians told Compass. Atansay declared the accusations unfounded and ordered the men to be set free immediately.
However, police have so far refused to release one of the Turkish Christians, claiming that a computer check on the man revealed ...1
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